I am not normally surrounded with disability discussion all day every day; in fact, like everyone here, I’m living in the able-bodied (sighted, in my case) world. Being confronted with opportunities to talk about disability issues on a more personal scale – such as my first AAPD brown-bag lunch this past Wednesday – I get to think more and more about my place in the world. I had never really thought that anyone was completely normal, but now I am beginning to wonder; I’m a white male, aged 18-49, and if it wasn’t for my blindness no visible disabilities or characteristics which really distinguish me from your standard stereotypical world-conquering man-image. The topic of privilege is often tossed clumsily around by many at my bubble of a liberal arts institution (Oberlin College; 135 W. Lorain St. Oberlin, OH 447004), and I often just passed it off as pointless arguing which, if anything, would only result in a temporary ego-boost. I now have to wonder – does anyone just feel normal? Sure we all have our problems (chin not square enough voice higher or lower pitched than you might like it etc) but what must it be like not to be immediately judged as different or smaller? I have the feeling that such normal people would probably complain that us disableds get all the attention and have such a neat avenue to express ourselves while they go unnoticed and ignored. Of course, they also probably have an easier time noticing the subtle Morse-code eye-blinks with which sighted people apparently communicate (I’m still finding out about what I’m missing thanks to my inability to make eye contact).
In conclusion, I’ve learned one very important thing this week: I need to attend more brown-bag lunches.